JackTV Mad Fest 2017: A Testament of the Thriving and Evolving Filipino Music Scene

A couple of years ago, “OPM is dead” made rounds on the Internet, creating a debacle between artists, critics, and fans. While there are people who would concede that the music scene has indeed come to a halt with the rise of novelty songs and endless covers from variety show stars, there were still many believers that OPM was never close to its demise. Artists continued to soldier on, with the underground and indie scene becoming a breeding ground for these creators. They went on to improve their craft, and after years of staying low-key, the music scene is starting to create waves again with more original Pinoy hits receiving a break in mainstream media and the Internet.

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Ben & Ben

This year’s JackTV Mad Fest is truly a testament to this resurgence of Filipino musicians and bands. Compared to the previous Mad Fests where they invited foreign acts to headline the event, this year focused on shining the spotlight on homegrown artists, creating a solid lineup across different genres and generations. From indie stars like Ang Bandang Shirley, Ben&Ben, and The Ransom Collective, to more seasoned artists like Sandwich, Imago, and Parokya ni Edgar; the event showcased the thriving music scene and the unbelievable talents of our very own bands.

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Hale’s Champ Lui Pio

It’s evident that the show featured a lot of promising and new artists, and the bands couldn’t agree more. Hale’s Champ Lui Pio said it best: “I think [the Filipino Music Scene is] on a roll. There is a plethora of new artists coming out, [creating] something unique, something new to offer. I think it’s only gonna get better.”

More and more artists are also finding themselves going mainstream, which is a good indication that record labels and the people are paying attention to those that play on a smaller scale. Sud, a band that started from small gigs to hitting the mainstream radio, agrees that this continuous trend should make fans “watch out” for new band discoveries.

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Parokya ni Edgar’s Chito Miranda with guest audience for their Bagsakan performance

Performer Curtismith also shared his thoughts on the current Filipino music scene, saying that ‘more and more artists are starting to find their distinct sound, which makes it that much easier to compete and break into a global scale’. Gab & John of Urbandub also recognize that musicians are evolving. “Sobrang daming magagandang bagong artists now na sobrang kakaiba yung tunog. (There are a lot of new artists today that create a unique kind of sound.) It’s so refreshing,” says John.

With this steady growth in the scene, the band Mayonnaise trusts that this will only make the community stronger. “Malaking bagay ‘yun na sobrang maging healthy ang eksena (it’s a good thing that the scene is becoming healthier for the community),” they said.

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The recently concluded event only affirmed that OPM is alive and kicking. OPM is not dead. It just enjoyed a peaceful slumber, and has energized itself to create a stronger wave and a cast a net for a bigger musical landscape in the future. We’re definitely more than ready for this to happen. OPM is here to stay.